X

EPL Table: Opening Results, Scores and 2018 Premier League Standings

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IAugust 10, 2018

Manchester United's Luke Shaw celebrates after scoring his sides second goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford, in Manchester, England, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Manchester United beat Leicester City 2-1 in the Premier League's opening match of the 2018/19 season at Old Trafford on Friday.

Captain Paul Pogba got the hosts off to the perfect start on three minutes. He stroked a penalty past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after Daniel Amartey had been penalised for handball.

The Red Devils added a second late on as defender Luke Shaw scored his first goal for the club. The left-back raced into the box and took a poor touch, but he managed to collect the ball and guide it home.

Substitute Jamie Vardy grabbed one back for Leicester in stoppage time, but it was the Red Devils who picked up the first three points of the season.

        

Premier League Standings (matches played, goal difference, points)

1. Manchester United: 1, +1, 3

2. Arsenal: 0, 0, 0

3. Bournemouth: 0, 0, 0

4. Brighton & Hove Albion: 0, 0, 0

5. Burnley: 0, 0, 0

6. Cardiff City: 0, 0, 0

7. Chelsea: 0, 0, 0

8. Crystal Palace: 0, 0, 0

9. Everton: 0, 0, 0

10. Fulham: 0, 0, 0

11. Huddersfield Town: 0, 0, 0

12. Liverpool: 0, 0, 0

13. Manchester City: 0, 0, 0

14. Newcastle United: 0, 0, 0

15. Southampton: 0, 0, 0

16. Tottenham Hotspur: 0, 0, 0

17. Watford: 0, 0, 0

18. West Ham United: 0, 0, 0

19. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 0, 0, 0

20. Leicester City: 1, -1, 0

        

Friday Recap

The hosts came flying out of the blocks at Old Trafford and won a penalty after just 75 seconds. Alexis Sanchez's shot was blocked by Wes Morgan, and the ball fell to Amartey, who handballed as he tried to clear.

Pogba took responsibility for the spot-kick and confidently lifted the ball over goalkeeper Schmeichel after a stuttering run-up.

Rob Dawson at ESPN FC was impressed with Pogba's start to the game:

Rob Dawson @RobDawsonESPN

Pogba's second touch was a 30-yard pass out to Darmian. His third was a goal.

Leicester coped well despite the early setback. They grew into the game as the half progressed. Jose Mourinho's side seemed happy to sit back and try to catch their opponents on the counter-attack.

The Red Devils looked particularly weak down their right flank, where full-back Matteo Darmian struggled against the pace of Demarai Gray.

Summer signings Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison looked bright for the Foxes. Maddison forced goalkeeper David De Gea into a good save with a fierce shot on the half-hour mark.

The hosts improved after the break but did not cause Leicester too many problems. A Pogba pass to Sanchez saw the Chilean pick out Juan Mata. He could only fire wide of the target when well placed.

Mourinho brought on Romelu Lukaku for Marcus Rashford on 66 minutes. The Belgium international ought to have doubled the Red Devils' lead shortly after his introduction.

He was teed up in the penalty area by Sanchez, but his shot was deflected over the bar by a good block from Schmeichel.

Shaw thought he had made the game safe when he guided the ball home inside the last 10 minutes of normal time.

Opta showed how long it had taken the left-back to open his account:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

1 - Luke Shaw's goal was his first for Manchester United, on what is his 67th appearance for the club in all competitions. Rewarded. https://t.co/ZWjBu5M9n0

However, Vardy set up a nervy ending after tapping home from close range. The United defence was caught out when a Ricardo cross was allowed to run through and hit the post. Vardy was the quickest to react as he knocked the ball home. 

The hosts managed to hold on for an important win. They may not have dominated the game, but the result and the performance of Pogba in particular provide reasons for optimism.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.